No such thing as a free ride in Chicago? That won't be true for some students on the CTA.
The new Free Fare Card Pilot program, announced Monday, will allow 500 CPS students at five high schools to ride public transportation for free. The CTA also announced students and their parents can ride buses and trains for free on Sept. 4, the first day of school.
As part of the pilot program, students from Clemente, Richards, Sullivan, TEAM Englewood and Wells are eligible for free rides. All CPS students can apply for a Student Riding Permit for reduced fares from 5:30 a.m. to the recently extended time of 8:30 p.m.
The catch? Students must promise, in contract-form, not to be absent more than five times per quarter or late more than six times.
“In addition to the existing reduced CTA fare program for CPS students, this pilot program will help get our young people to school on time," Emanuel said in a statement, "so they can take advantage of more time in the classroom with our teachers every day of the school year.”
The program is being funded by Chicago-area philanthropist Wendy Abrams, the mayor's office pointed out, to no cost to the city.
"For many families and students the school day starts not when the bell rings, but when our bus and train doors open," CTA President Forrest Claypool said. "This pilot program will make it even easier for students to get to and from school so they can spend more time in the classroom.”